By Abhishek Jha:
Weed, Marijuana, Cannabis, Hashish, Bhaang, Hemp, Charas, Ganja – Eta Ki (What’s That)?
Have you been blowing spit lately like Bubbles from “The Wire“? Do you contemplate jazz in the “supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities“? Chances are you are “stoned immaculate” on marijuana, a preparation made from the cannabis plant that is used either for recreation or as part of medicines to alter mood, consciousness, and also for relaxation. And even though it has been in use for centuries, its impact on our health is debated even today.
A 2014 Pew research shows that 69% Americans think alcohol to be more harmful to people’s health than marijuana and 63% think alcohol to be more harmful to society than marijuana. Quite a bit of this sentiment can probably be attributed to the Bob brothers (Marley & Dylan) and the beloved Beatles. Scientists and doctors, however, used to be strongly opposed to the drug earlier even though enough research wasn’t available to suggest that it was harmful, or as harmful as they wanted it to be labelled. So, trust your mother to not hand you a joint instead of toothpaste in the morning. Instead, she will probably read some research paper aloud so that you can listen to how it alters the brain and affects “emotion and motivation“.
The answer to this question lies in the shadow of prejudice and stereotypes associated with any psychoactive substance. This bias has affected even so-called objective scientific research. Thus, those researching the topic might already be looking for the result that they wish to arrive at, and this might affect parameters and variables that are used in the research. What that means is, if you’re looking to advocate pro it, there is enough ammo out there for you to go John Rambo on the issue. Or if you’re looking to go against it, you should find your Hulk too.
Therefore, some scientists will refute your mother’s paper by saying that the correlation obtained between emotions and marijuana usage does not imply causality. In other words, it is possible that those who have a low motivation or are sad smoke marijuana more, rather than marijuana making you pen your lachrymose two-a-penny poems.
Research on the medical usage of marijuana (though troublesome) has made people even switch sides on its legalisation.
So whether you smoke pot or don’t, it’s a question of whatever rocks your boat.
To know more about what I think of this issue, follow me on Twitter @abhi5285